1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Can woodstoves be automated? (long post)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Gark, Nov 28, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Gark, I am sorry but fail to see what is complex about running a wood stove. Some like to say our stove, being a cat stove, is complicated to operate. Sorry, but if moving 2 levers is complicated, then there are a whole bunch of people out in this world that should not even be operating cars or trucks! That is a whale of a lot more complicated than running any wood stove.

    I was able to teach my wife (who is very difficult to teach anything to) and two sons how to operate a couple different stoves. They had no problems and non thought it complicated or complex. Move this lever here and that lever there.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    "Why, yes dear, I do want to sleep on the couch for the next month. That sounds like a fantastic idea."
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    :lol: :lol: :lol: Good one Browning
  4. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    I hope the Missus is not reading these posts or you will be sleeping on the tractor for the remainder of the winter. hahaha.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Hey Guys, my wife reads a lot of the posts! No problem KatWill.
  6. woodmiser

    woodmiser New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Messages:
    390
    Loc:
    Garnet Valley, PA
    Doesn't that Blaze King have some automation?

    Personally I would like to have thermostatically controlled air. Basically a servo controlled air control that has some brains. If the power goes out you could have a small battery backup or just run it manually. I don't see the big deal about electronics. I know when I see the stove top (reading off my digital sensor) going up fast over 600, the damper gets closed. It would be pretty cool to see the damper start closing as the temps rose.
  7. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    Messages:
    808
    Loc:
    SW Michigan
    A similar post from 18Oct. 2010 (thanx, Gridlock) has just been resurrected. The response in 2010 looked the same as now. One or two positive, a few yeah-maybe but most negative. Perhaps try again next year and I did not steal Gridlock's idea though the write-ups and parameters were freaky similar. Great minds think alike (or go down in flames, eh)?

    BrotherBart -- totally LOVE your Windoes stove! That was a good one.....
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,613
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Gark, you can get a BK King stove right now and load it once a day. Their thermostatic dampering system works well. That is pretty close to as automatic as a pellet stove, yet with less moving parts and greater reliability. And it'll work in a power outage.
  9. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Messages:
    2,449
    Loc:
    Yukon Canada
    The stove does that already with a simple bi-metal coil. Why complicate it? As for automation, the BK is analog, not digital. ;-)
    Arnt ya picken up what we have been layin down.
    Cheers
  10. woodmiser

    woodmiser New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Messages:
    390
    Loc:
    Garnet Valley, PA
    Part of the reason I went non-cat. Analog/Digital... doesn't matter. The first computers were analog. They didn't work too good. The first fires were in the dirt. They didn't work too good either. I know you're just ribbin. Just pointing out that we all have a desire for some automation, especially when it's so obvious. Not everybody likes babysitting the fire as often as is sometimes required. Going out the door for work in the morning or going to bed, a little automation could help in those times. My digital gauge setup is programmable to set off an alarm if it reaches a programmed temp. It's not automation but it's a nice feature to have. Sure it's not for everybody. For those there should be a topic on selling the stove and going back to open fires in a tee pee ;)
  11. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    6,770
    Loc:
    Syracuse NY
    That is about as complicated as I want the control of the burn of 100+ pounds of wood in my living room.
  12. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Loc:
    Broadstone England
    Don't even go there BB, cos that's where we'll be heading in years to come to get that 100% efficient wood stove full of Chinese rare earth minerals in their microprocessers.

    Just thinking about it has nearly converted me to a love of old smoke dragons ;-)
  13. woodmiser

    woodmiser New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Messages:
    390
    Loc:
    Garnet Valley, PA
    I hear you but it's amazing how many rely on computer controls and electronics to control 100's of 1000's of BTU's of explosive gases to heat homes and businesses without even thinking about it.
  14. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,329
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    True, the bimetallic coil on the Blaze Kings, VCs is more than sufficient to control the air to maintain a desired griddle temp. No benefit in complicating it.


    *IF* I wanted to automate things what I would do is have a system that is connected to both a room thermometer and thermocouples on the stove (griddle temp, flue temp, and cat temp if appropriate). You would use it as a thermostat and it would open or close the air to maintain the desired room temp. The sensors on the stove could be used to program high and low limit overrides that would kick in and prevent air settings that result in overfire or a cat stall.
  15. ControlFreak

    ControlFreak Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    491
    Loc:
    Holden, MA
    To all who posted on this topic, especially Gark, who initiated it.

    The answer is yes, it is possible to add electronics to a wood stove to automate the combustion. This is what I have worked on since late 2004 in my spare time. I spent the majority of my spare time for 5 years developing SmartStove, and today it is essentially a completed product that is just lacking volume production and a volume customer. And yes, it is more expensive than it would be if it was produced in volumes of 10K units or more. Remember the first CD players? New technology is never cheap until it is produced in high volumes.

    I have presented SmartStove to around 8 different stove manufacturers and have sold evaluation systems to several. None of them have chosen to integrate it into their products - yet.

    Since 2005, I have heated my home using a Napoleon 1401 upgraded with SmartStove. I open the door in the morning, take out some ash, level out the coals, clean the glass, pack with 8 splits, close the door and I don't need to think about it for another 8 or 9 hours. For those of you that enjoy constantly fiddling with the settings on your stove, that's great. I did that for 6 years too, but I grew REALLY tired of it once I had everything figured out. There are a number of other individuals that have systems on their stoves and they are very happy as well. To each his own.

    Over the years, I have demonstrated that I am a much better engineer than I am at business, sales and marketing. If there's any one of you who would like to work with me to turn SmartStove into a profitable business, please don't hesitate to send me a PM, or respond to the info link on the website.

    Dan McFarland
  16. John Ackerly

    John Ackerly Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Loc:
    Washington, DC
    I know this thread is very old, and it seems to reincarnate every year, with similar responses. But I think Gark will be vindicated in coming years. Every generation tends to think their technology is sufficient, and more complexity is risky or unecessary. But who amongst us is really trying to stick with old phones, dishwashers, furnaces, etc? For me, the key is not what technology can be put to use well by folks on this list, but what is going to help the majority of folks that don't know much about their stoves. Hell, some data shows about half of Americans burn unseasoned wood! The first manufacturer that adds a thermocouple to and port to recharge a cell phone will make some good money. Indirectly, things like this can help deploy cleaner stoves if folks are more likely to ditch their old dirty stove for a model they feel is much better. Gark's posting didn't elicit much talk about how much cleaner automated stoves could be for our neighbors. But until we get a few automated models in production, we won't really know whether they will take off in the marketplace. We need to show policymakers, environmentalists and ourselves, that stoves are not a static technology, but are changing and improving with the times. Until then, stoves will continue to be viewed skeptically by many and they will continue to put out too much smoke in the hands of too many consumers. And they will continue to operate at 50 - 70% efficiency instead of 65 - 80% efficiency, and not save families the kind of money that they should. Anyway, its snowing like crazy now and I'm taking my 6 year old son sledding!
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page